During the 2003 election, the CCC was at the center of another controversy involving the endorsement of a major politician. In July, Mississippi Republican gubernatorial nominee Haley Barbour, who served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997, attended a CCC-sponsored barbecue. Though the attendance of local Republican and Democratic office-seekers at political events partly sponsored by the CCC usually evokes little controversy, this year the group posted on its Web site a photo of Barbour at the barbecue (l. to r.: Mississippi GOP aide Chip Reynolds, State Senator Bucky Huggins, Ray Martin, Barbour, John Thompson, and CCC Field Director Bill Lord.).
The photo was placed directly above a variety of racist and anti-Semitic materials, including an essay by outspoken anti-Semite Edgar J. Steele entitled "In Defense of Racism" and tracts urging that Germany be cleared of the "blood libel" of the Holocaust. Numerous civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, called on Barbour to ask the CCC to remove the photo, but Barbour, whose campaign included a pledge to preserve a version of the Mississippi state flag that includes an emblem of the Confederate flag, refused to do so. Though he condemned some of the views expressed on the CCC Web site as "indefensible," he insisted that the photo was in the public domain and could be used freely, by anyone. For its part, CCC Field Director Bill Lord said that the posting was a publicity stunt and should not be construed as an endorsement. Barbour won the election, and was sworn in as Governor of Mississippi in January 2004. The photo was removed from the site shortly after his victory.